12 Oct 2018

dba LTV Paranormalists - Hauntings Anonymous - Chapter 13

The Phanton Unmasked

"I'm already looking into the warehouse."
"And don't tell Ayel what you're doing, okay?"
"A partnership that has an employee who has a security license."
"Kristi likes photos of beds in dim light?"
Monday afternoon
Ayel jumped out of the van as soon as it stopped moving in the warehouse's parking lot.  She dashed to join Kristi and Kieu at the main entrance.  "I got your message.  What's up?"

"You got me," Kristi said.  "Aidan asked me to round everyone up.  Did you get the report done for Mr. Morton?"

"Right here."  Ayel pulled a manila envelope out from under her jacket.  "Feels wrong to just say that the carving's clean now without saying how."

"Got you covered."  Kristi opened her shoulder bag.  A tiny hand pushed up a box of table salt.  "Ginger!  I told you to stay behind."

Ginger's head poked up from the bag.  "I wanted to see."

Kristi rubbed her forehead.  "Don't let anyone else see you, okay?  It's going to be difficult enough selling what we're about to do without having to explain a fae in my purse."

Kieu knelt down to face Ginger.  "Having fun yet?"

Ginger giggled.  "Hiding's fun for a bit, then it gets boring."

"Well, don't get too bored, okay?"  Kieu stood back up.  "What's with the salt?"

"It works on Supernatural."  Kristi shrugged.  "I'll sprinkle some in the carvings' crate, say something about the purity of the crystals, and take credit for all of Ginger's hard work.  Ginger, I will get you a special coffee when we're done here."

Ayel slipped the envelope back in her jacket.  "Let's go see Alex, then."

Kristi stepped in front of the blonde woman, blocking her way to the entrance.  "Aidan asked to be here, too."  The tawny-haired woman pointed at the street and a red hatchback approaching.  "I think that's him."

The hatchback turned into the warehouse's parking lot and coasted to a stop.  Aidan got out of the car and waved to the women.  "Have you talked to anyone inside yet?"

Kristi walked over to the slim man.  "Not yet.  What's up?"  She tilted her head in Ayel's direction.  "Is this what we talked about yesterday?"

Aidan held up several pages of printed paper.  "Everything is detailed here."  He gave a sheet of paper to Kristi.  "One for everyone."

11 Oct 2018

dba LTV Paranormalists - Hauntings Anonymous - Commentary 12

The last pieces have fell into place, in dba LTV Paranormalists Chapter 12.

It was time to separate the cast again.  Families exist.  They get worried when the young adults don't make appearances.  So, Ayel and Kieu go home again.  Kristi, coming from a different and far more isolated town, doesn't have the problem.  The commute to Moose Factory is a little harsh.  I do plan on having some of Kristi's family show up next arc.

Kieu has an annoying superpower - she is comfortable for small animals and fae to sleep on.  Worse, Kieu tends to not notice while she's asleep.  Ginger is basically a cat on two legs.  I wasn't planning on going that way, but the LOLfae just went that direction.  So, she'll sleep wherever she likes, can get her nose out of joint over a perceived insult, and will perk up on the mention of treats, in Ginger's case, coffee.  If it works, it works.

Ayel's sister Tiffany reappears, this time a little brattier, trying to foist off Benedict Flyffybutt.  The morning chaos strikes, though not as bad as it could be on a workday.  Four people all trying to get ready for work/school?  Yeah, traffic control is needed.  On a Sunday morning, it's not as bad.  This is the first Ayel's parents have heard of her side job.  Janet wants her daughter to be safe.  Having an employee licensed to carry a handgun doesn't inspire confidence.  Brad is missing details, so his wife is getting Ayel to fill them in.  And, yes, I named Ayel's parents after Bran and Janet in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  Brad was the last to be named and I resisted as long as possible, but I reached a point where I had to name him.  And once that door opened, of course they're about to go out with the Munroes.  The Hapschatts appear next chapter.

Since I've mentioned Tiffany, Ayel's middle name was originally going to be that.  Except, when I needed to name her sister, Tiffany worked better there.  I haven't used Ayel's middle name, or, really, her proper name at all in this chapter, so it's not an issue yet.  At some point, though, I'll have to figure it out.  Ayel gets her nickname from the initials of her hyphenated given name, A. L.  She really doesn't like her proper name.

Kieu finally gets home after her date.  Her parents are so used to her disappearing that they call the police when she does show up at home two days in a row.  And don't ask where Kieu not wearing panties during her date came from.  I'm not sure if she was being sarcastic or being truthful.  Kieu isn't like Mara.  Your guess is as good as mine right now.

Mysteries do eventually need to be solved.  I now know who and have an idea of why, but that still means the clues need to be collected.  Each character has an area of expertise - Kristi and art, Ayel and business, Kieu and technology - so each one has a way to dig for information.  Kieu's affinity for technology helps get that one last clue I needed to point at the right person.

Friday, revealing Old Man Peterson, in Hauntings Anonymous Chapter 13, "The Phantom Unmasked".
Also Friday, over at Psycho Drive-In, Robocop the Animated Series.
Saturday, over at The Seventh Sanctum, adaptations of adaptations.

5 Oct 2018

dba LTV Paranormalists - Hauntings Anonymous - Chapter 12

Discrete Investigation

"And they're both alive."
"I'm sure we can find the fake ghost."
"Looks harmless enough."
"Getting drunk seems like a good idea right now."
Sunday morning
Kristi yawned as she made her way downstairs, her bare feet taking the steps one at a time to avoiud making any noise that could wake up her roomies or her guest.  She reached the bottom of the stairs and started creeping towards the kitchen.  The tawny-haired woman froze on hearing Kieu stir.

"Hello?" Kieu said, her voice soft.

"It's just me," Kristi said.  "You can go back to sleep."

"Kristi, I can't move my arm.  Something's wrong with it."

Hurrying, Kristi reached the faded couch.  "Can you wriggle your fingers?"

After a moment, Kieu answered, "I can.  I can also feel the blanket.  I can't move my arm.  It's too heavy."

Kristi peered at Kieu, only seeing her friend's head, the rest of her body covered by a grey blanket.  "I'll take your covers off so I can see what's going on."  With deliberate care, Kristi rolled the blanket back past Kieu's shoulders.  She stopped on seeing Ginger's nude form draped over Kieu's arm.  "I found the problem.  It's not you."

4 Oct 2018

dba LTV Paranormalists - Hauntings Anonymous - Commentary 11

Skirting the edge of a business license, in dba LTV Paranormalists Chapter 11.

There are times when constraints work against the core idea.  My constraint was that, unlike Scooby-Doo, my paranormal investigators are doing this as a job.  They have limits, mostly so that they don't need two years of PI and Security at Algonquin before the story begins.  That's a different story, one that someone else can tell for now.  The problem right now in the story is that they are about to cross over into actual mundane investigation work.  Sure, Scooby and the gang did that, but they pulled in the police before the unmasking, and they were off in less populated parts than a major city.  But the story can't end with the investigation dangling; it's not a satisfying ending.  Even that characters are complaining that they can't finish what they started.

Fortunately, I gave myself an out.  I figured I'd run into this situation.  Thus, Aiden.  He's my safety valve.  He can step in for the more mundane aspects.  That way, if the police get miffed, Aidan can show his license.  I may have to throw that in in a future arc, but for now, I have a saving throw.  He's there to give cover for the rest.  After all, students do know how to research.  They can dig into all sorts of files that they have access to.  Aiden, though, can use his license to get to more restricted files without having to answer awkward questions.

The death near the night club and Kieu's pink-out are related.  In the first arc, where the Paranormalists find Ginger, Kieu tastes purple when the LOLfae uses her magic.  The next arc will go into the connection more, but there is a link between Kieu's unusual relationship with colours and magic.  Sean and Jared did get home safe; it was a minor point but still out there.

The original concept of the LTV Paranormalists was that Kristi partially convinced Ayel to join her in the venture.  That more or less happened, but Ayel was meant to be the skeptic.  It's hard to remain skeptical when you meet a real fae.  Ginger is very much proof that the paranormal and supernatural exist.  Whether other legends are real is another matter, but Ayel can't continue to be a skeptic.  So, the character evolves.  Ayel is going through a paradigm shift, one that expands her knowledge of the world.  She just needed someone to talk to who wouldn't think she's crazy.

Friday, family time, in Hauntings Anonymous Chapter 12, "Discrete Investigation".
Also Friday, over at Psycho Drive-In, animated adaptations.
Saturday, over at The Seventh Sanctum, Robocop the Animated Series.

28 Sep 2018

dba LTV Paranormalists - Hauntings Anonymous - Chapter 11

Back Into the Warehouse

"I has a buzz."
"Happy Ginger is happy."
"I is a magicks!"
"You.  Are.  Not.  Needed!  Go.  AWAY!"
Saturday night
At the coffee shop, Ayel sat down, giving her feet a brief respite after the after-dinner rush.  She massaged the her calves, working out a tenseness she could feel growing.  Tabbie set down a tub of dishes and sat beside the blonde woman.  Ayel managed a smile for her co-worker.  "I'll get those," she offered.

"Sit.  Take your break already.  I've got these."

Ayel's smile grew genuine.  "Thanks, Tabbie."

"No problem.  Hey, where did your friends go clubbing last night?"

"Glamour Blue.  Why?  Want to head there after work and enjoy the rest of the evening?"

"You hadn't heard?

27 Sep 2018

dba LTV Paranormalists - Hauntings Anonymous - Commentary 10

Ginger banished dark spirits, in dba LTV Paranormalists Chapter 10.

And now the problem of reality interfering with a desired narrative appears.  Ayel and Kieu don't have PI licenses.  Kristi shouldn't, but she's surprised me before.  Aidan does, and that's why he's on retainer.  But if there's no evil magic or annoying spirit around, LTV Paranormalists can't investigate without risking fines from the province.  There is something in the warehouse; Ginger confirmed it.  Just not the source of the Phantom of the Warehouse.

As mentioned last week, Ginger has been to I Can Has Cheezburger.  This wasn't planned.  Ginger needed a presence in the scene.  If she was a cat, she'd be climbing over everyone to be the centre of attention.  NaNoWriMo encourages word count, not necessarily coherence, so anything that adds to the number of words is fair game as long as the words are words.  Given the two and that this was probably written during week three, when sanity has long fled, Ginger became a LOLfae.  Yet, I still wanted a reason for the new behaviour.  Zaina introduced Ginger to the Internet.  That might have been the wrong thing to do.

The material Ayel brought for Ginger is so that she can have a proper wardrobe.  A bit of research - mostly verifying tales like "The Shoemaker and the Elves" and seeing similar stories - let me realize that Ginger could make her own clothes, provided she has the cloth and thread to do so.  The catch in most of the tales is that if the human takes the elves for granted, the elves get revenge.  Here, not too much a problem; Kristi makes sure that Ginger has what she needs and some of what she wants.

Why did I pick Aztec carvings for the shipment with the "awful magicks"?  Shadowrun, mostly.  The game does go into some detail about what's known about Aztec culture, enough to give me a base to start with in researching and hand-waving.  I didn't get deep into details here; the characters don't know much so thus they are researching.  Zaina has taken some classes, first year comparitive religion and such, to give some detail.  Kieu, being slightly detatched from reality, found the Shadowrun details and didn't have the knowledge to separate those from actual history.

The new break-and-enter let me get a new detail about Kristi out.  Ayel and Kieu have family in town; Kristi doesn't, so her supporting cast tends towards roommates and classmates.  Now, she has a sister.  And since the sister has been mentioned, an appearance in a future arc isn't a sudden surprise.

The same scene let me show off Ginger.  Just how powerful is the little LOLfae?  Strong enough to unlock a garbage can and banish spirits.  I went with a skunk instead of a raccoon; both are common enough in areas around Ottawa.  However, raccoons have another role to play, one that needs to appear in the first arc.  Again, things work here without the first arc, but expand on ideas from there.  Augh!

One idea I do have for a future arc, now that Ginger has material to makes clothes, is a supernatural problem at a convention, one that includes dolls.  Not a dolls-only con, but along the lines of Doll North, part of Anime North.  Just because such a con doesn't exist in Ottawa (yet) doesn't mean one can't exist in fiction.  That way, Ginger doesn't have to be carried in a backpack, under a jacket, or in a sports bag.  She gets to be disguised as a doll herself.

What Ayel did while Ginger exorcised spirits, in Hauntings Anonymous Chapter 11, "Back into the Warehouse".
Also Friday, over at Psycho Drive-In, hiatus week because life
Saturday, over at The Seventh Sanctum, animated adaptations.

21 Sep 2018

dba LTV Paranormalists - Hauntings Anonymous - Chapter 10

Contract's Over

"Flee, or suffer my wrath!"
"The Phantom of the Warehouse made an appearance."
"There's awful magicks in there."
"Can I help it that Alex is an ass man?"
Late afternoon
Kristi led the way into her shared duplex.  "Hello?  Anyone else here?"

"I'm upstairs," Zaina called back.



Kristi stepped aside to usher in Ayel.  The tawny-haired woman opened her jacket to let Ginger jump down.  The tiny woman dashed towards the kitchen.  Kristi hung up both her jacket and Ayel's coat before going further.  Ayel took the shopping bag she carried into the living room, setting it down on the faded couch.  "There's gratitude for you," the blonde woman said.

"Try not to upset the capricious fae, Ayel."  Kristi dropped down on the couch.  "I can almost hear normally again."

Ayel sat beside Kristi.  "This is getting dangerous.  We need to tell Morton to get real security."

"But we're close, Ayel.  The Phantom wouldn't have shown up if we weren't."

"We're getting close?  Kristi, what if the next time, the Phantom decides to blow up the warehouse?"